Actor and rapper Nashawn Breedlove, who faced off against Eminem in an “8 Mile” rap battle, has died in New Jersey. He was 46.
He died Sunday in his sleep, according to TMZ, and the cause of death is unknown.
His mother Patricia confirmed his death on Facebook, writing “Nashawn was a rapper, singer, songwriter, and actor. No one could deny his talent. Nashawn’s departure from this world has left an immense void in my life, one that words cannot fully express. I can’t put into words the pain and hurt that I feel. He was not just my son; he was a remarkable man whose character and strength inspired all who crossed his path.”
Breedlove is known for his role in “8 Mile,” the 2002 drama loosely based on the life of Eminem. Eminem stars as Jimmy, or B-Rabbit, a white rapper from Detroit trying to make it in the majority Black world of hip-hop. Breedlove plays the character Lotto, a fellow freestyle rapper immersed in Detroit’s hip-hop culture. Lotto is a member of the rap group The Free World, Jimmy’s rivals in the film. The rappers frequently gather and battle each other at a venue known as The Shelter; Lotto and Jimmy go head-to-head at the end of the film.
Having won the coin toss, Jimmy has Lotto go first, but he isn’t afraid to start things off. His freestyle is filled with assertions of his dominance and interspersed with racial commentary and jabs at Jimmy’s whiteness: “I’ll spit a racial slur, honky, sue me/This shit is a horror flick, but the Black guy doesn’t die in this movie.” He adds later, “You think these niggas gon’ feel the shit you say?/I got a better chance joinin’ the KKK.”
Perhaps the most well known line from Lotto’s verse is when he likens Jimmy to a famous 1950s sit-com character: “Fuck ‘Lotto, call me your leader/I feel bad I gotta murder that dude from ‘Leave it to Beaver/I used to like that show, now you got me in fight back mode.”
Though Jimmy ends up winning the battle, the crowd loves Lotto’s audacious disses.
Rapper Mickey Factz took to Instagram to pay tribute to Breedlove, posting the battle from “8 Mile” and writing, “RIP to one of the few emcee’s to beat Eminem… Lotto from 8 Mile. Who’s friends lovingly called him, OX. You will be missed for your tenacity and aggressiveness.”
Beyond “8 Mile,” Breedlove was also featured on the soundtrack for the 2001 film “The Wash,” alongside Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg. He was a longtime resident of New Jersey.
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